Charles Chase is the Ben Harper's grandfather. Ben is in fact one of the 10 grandchildren of Charles and Dorothy Chase. Charles Chase is the owner of the Folk Music Center, a music store located at Claremont, in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Rachelle Fittante, former student in La Jolla wrote a marvellous document on its life.
In virtually every town,
there is someone or something that brings definition to the area,
be it through culture or historical insight. Often this defining element
is the epitome of life in the area it represents, and the lifeblood
which connects the past to the present.Claremont, a city known for
its bohemian qualities, has many of these elements, but as contested
by those who know and love him, none are quite as fitting as Chase
and his Folk Music Center. Just as brass has a memory, Chase has a
complete cognizance of every event in his life, as well as in-depth
knowledge of the history behind practically every instrument in the
Folk Music Center, including their creation in correspondence with
historical events. Timeless stories flow from his mouth like songs
of the past, giving life to the history he illustrates with the tales
of instruments that come from all over the world. Small-framed with
longish, thinning white hair and a lengthy white beard, Chase is an
apocalyptic mix between Jesus and Santa Claus. He walks with a slight
limp. He speaks in soft, prophetic tones, characteristic of rural
New Hampshire, where he is originally from, and his positive attitude
and kindness illuminate his kindred spirit. He is both legend of his
time and friend to Claremont Village.
In addition to discussing
his family, another topic Chase talks a lot about poetry. It is, perhaps,
his first passion. Outside the shop is the poetry post, a tall wood
block where Chase posts poems he has written. He also invites anyone
who wants to display their poems there to do so as well. More than
3,000 poems are stored in Chase's personal computer, but a majority
of them he has published in small chat books that he has graphically
laid out, printed up and put on display to be sold in the store.
I was likely to go to the Folk Music Center and I can say to you that this description is really in conformity with reality still now. From this place emerges really a particular atmosphere. One can take down constantly an instrument of the wall and to play it... Thus I was likely to play on Weissenborn Style 1...